How to Replace Pickups in an Ibanez

Written by jack kaltmann
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How to Replace Pickups in an Ibanez
Replacing pickups can improve a guitar's sound and tone. (guitar image by Bosko Martinovic from

Guitarists and bass guitarists will often choose to replace the stock pickups of their Ibanez instruments to improve the tone quality or improve the signal coming from the guitar to the amplifier or sound board. While more expensive Ibanez guitars will come from the factory with higher-quality pickups, many of the less-expensive models will use cheaper components to keep the instrument cost down. Replacing the pickups can easily be done in about 20 minutes if you are comfortable using a soldering iron.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • New guitar or bass strings

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  1. 1

    Remove the strings from the instrument.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the back plate on the back side of the guitar and remove it to access the cavity.

  3. 3

    Unscrew the pickup from the front of the guitar and remove it from the body, but do not pull any wires out yet.

  4. 4

    Look in the back cavity and note where the pickup wires are attached to the pots for each of the pickups. Use the needle nose pliers to gently move the wires so you can see their locations better. Do not completely remove any wires.

  5. 5

    Place the new pickup in the front cavity and feed the wire through the hole to the back access cavity. The old pickup is still connected at this point.

  6. 6

    Spread the coloured wires from the new pickup and using the needle nose pliers, strip one inch of the protective coating from the black wire only.

  7. 7

    Look at where the coloured wires from the old pickup are attached to the pot. Desolder one old wire and disconnect it. Solder the matching coloured wire from the new pickup to the pot. Repeat this for each wire making sure to only do one at a time to avoid mixing up the connections.

  8. 8

    Remove the old pickup now that it is disconnected.

  9. 9

    Screw the new pickups in place on the front of the guitar.

  10. 10

    Replace the back cover and secure with the screws.

  11. 11

    Restring the guitar.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not trust your soldering abilities, you can test the connection by plugging the guitar into an amp and turning the volume on high before you put everything back together. Touch the screwdriver to the pickup magnets on the inside of the guitar after you have soldered the connections. If you hear a popping sound, you have successfully soldered the wires to the pots.
  • A soldering iron is hot so make sure you do not leave it unattended and that you do not accidentally burn the finish of your guitar.

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